SUI to release report into Correctional Services tenders

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pretoria - A final report on the investigation into tenders amounting to over R1.6 billion will be submitted to the Department of Correctional Services in August.

This was revealed during a meeting between Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head Willie Hofmeyer and Acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Jennifer Schreiner, to update her on progress made in the investigation.

The investigation was commissioned by Correctional Services in March 2006. It covers major tenders entered into by the department for nutrition services, CCTV security, fencing and television monitors.

In 2005, government approved a R436 million contract to install high perimeter fences with detectors and close circuit television systems at all correctional centres in the country.

The department also approved the implementation of an R88 million security system at 66 correctional centres, including 36 centres of excellence and 30 other high-risk prisons.

This was an attempt by the department to curb prison escapes.

The SIU is also probing a deal between the department and a company known as Bosasa Operations to provide food for South Africa's main prisons. Since 2004 Bosasa Operations and its subsidiaries have been awarded tenders totalling more than R1 billion.

The investigation further covers contracts authorised during the tenure of former Commissioner of Correctional Services Linda Mti.

The meeting between Mr Hofmeyer and Ms Schreiner also reflected on a number of critical elements of the fight against fraud and corruption, including disciplinary actions and criminal investigations against officials who had been fingered in the probe.

Meanwhile, in a further effort to stamp out corruption within the department, Correctional Services Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, last week announced the suspension of Commissioner Xoliswa Sibeko.

The department, in conjunction with the Department of Public Service and Administration, is investigating the conduct of Ms Sibeko who was said to have been renting an expensive residence at the expense of the tax payer.

A report in that regard is expected in two weeks time.

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